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No, escalations do not begin with rockets on Israel

Israel might have the power to tell itself and the rest of the world a story of victimhood. In reality, it has been abusing two million besieged Gazans for over a decade.

As the number of casualties on both sides of the Gaza border continues to climb, Israeli politicians are busy having their age-old argument: should we destroy Gaza? Erase it? Or should we send it back to the Stone Age? I propose we draw a different lesson from the horrific violence that, as of this time, has already taken the life of 16 Palestinians and four Israelis: we Israelis need to learn Arabic.

I am aware that my proposal is far less attractive to most Israelis than a “solution” that includes more violence and bloodletting, but in the long run it may just be the most effective. Learning Arabic, after all, is the only way to overcome our ignorance regarding what is happening on the other side in between rounds of “escalation,” which according to Israel always begins with the first Israeli casualty.

The first thing one learns in every introductory history course is that history is written by the victors. That may be true, but it does not erase the role of the vanquished. Perhaps history is written by the winners, but it is created by all actors involved.

Israel can tell both itself and the world any story it wants. It can talk about “escalation” only when rockets fall on the south or about terrorism only when its citizens pay the price. It can erase the barbaric blockade on Gaza, the endless starvation of its population, the snipers who kill unarmed protesters, the shooting at fishermen, the lack of potable water, the electricity, the infrastructure, the economy and the unemployment.

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Yet none of these will cease being part of the history in the making of occupation and violence. With all due respect, a narrative cannot replace reality, and in reality, Israel has been abusing two million besieged Gazans for over a decade. What did we think would happen? That because the strong have the power to tell the story the weak would simply vanish?

Those who follow Arabic-language media outlets in between rocket attacks on southern Israel will discover a parallel universe that the Hebrew media hardly cares about. For them, “escalation” is not equivalent to rocket fire on the...

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Nearly half of Knesset members were born into a reality of apartheid

Young Israeli lawmakers are arriving in parliament after an entire life in which Israel’s control over Palestinians is the natural state of the world.

No fewer than 49 new members of Knesset took their oath of office on Tuesday, in large part thanks to the dizzying success of the stand-for-nothing Blue and White party. The new Knesset boasts way fewer women and many more young members: 26 of the freshman class of parliamentarians are in their 30s. The youngest among them, Yorai Lahav Harzano of the Blue and White party, is 30.

In a normal world, perhaps that would be a source of hope. In our reality, however, young Israelis are more religious, conservative and right wing than their peers in the club of Western democratic states to which Israel claims to belong.

According to a new study on voting trends in Israel by Dr. Noa Lavi and Dr. Irit Adler from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, from 2008 to 2016, 64.3 percent of young Israelis between the ages of 18-29 voted for right-wing parties. In the 30-55 age group, only 54.9 percent voted for the same parties, compared to 57.3 percent among Israelis who were 56 years and older.

Just under half of the members of the 21st Knesset were born after June 1967, when Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Almost all the other members were either children or teenagers at that time.

Even if we set aside for a moment the questionable nature of Israel’s “democracy” in the years prior to the ’67 occupation, about half of Israeli lawmakers today have not known a single day without explicit apartheid —Israeli rule over an area in which two separate legal systems apply for two sets of people whose civic status is defined differently. Like their older colleagues, the younger members of Knesset have also not known a reality in which Arab citizens of Israel were perceived as citizens with equal rights rather than as a demographic threat. In all their years of education, it’s unlikely that they’ve come across a map of Israel that addresses the Green Line in any way. It is even less likely that even a few of them could draw the boundaries of occupation on a map.

What sort of democratic consciousness can develop in such a reality? The young members of Knesset are arriving...

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Who needs Bennett when Netanyahu is already annexing the West Bank

Unlike satellite right-wing parties, Netanyahu advances the annexation of occupied Palestinian territories with little public scrutiny and at no cost.

Israeli politics provide very few moments of relief for the beaten-down left. That Naftali Bennett’s “New Right” party might not make it past the election threshold, and that his political partner, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, might have to beg the Supreme Court — which she so much abhors — to defend her political survival, are certainly two examples of such relief.

But the joy over Bennett and Shaked’s troubles, justified as it may be, must not interfere with our reading of the political map. The pro-settler right does not appear any more moderate — in fact, the opposite is true.

Yes, the hubris with which Bennett and Shaked resigned from the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party and their decision to form another right-wing party most likely had a negative impact on their base. So too did Netanyahu’s last-ditch campaign — a scare tactic used to push people to vote — along with the fact that these elections were a referendum on the political legitimacy of a prime minister suspected of corruption. This, however, is only part of the story.

More than anything, Likud’s election victory teaches us that Israelis have internalized that it is more effective to promote a far-right agenda through an omnipotent ruler than through the establishment of satellite parties, which are easily labeled as extreme and are more susceptible to domestic and international scrutiny. In other words, right wing voters preferred actions over empty declarations.

Right-wing ideology, from Netanyahu to the last of the Kahanists, rests on four primary ingredients: absolute rule over Palestinians, delegitimization of Palestinians both as individuals and as a nation, eradicating democratic spaces, and Jewish supremacy.

Netanyahu has promoted each of these elements in frightening efficiency over the past decade. Annexation is not necessary to entrench Israeli control in the West Bank to the point of no return. In fact, it would be more potent to present it as a fact on the ground, through gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities in the occupied territories, enlarging the Jewish settler population, exploiting the West Bank’s natural resources, and obstructing any possibility for growth of Palestinian leadership, among other things.

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To deepen incitement and delegitimization against Palestinian citizens, there is...

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Israeli conscientious objector sentenced to 30 days in prison

After 18 months of service in the Israeli army, Roman Levin told his commanders that he was no longer willing to participate in the oppression of the Palestinian people. ‘When I visited Ukraine, I encountered disrespect toward Jews. This is how my empathy for the Palestinian people developed.’

The Israeli army sentenced 19-year-old Roman Levin to 30 days in prison on Tuesday for refusing to continue serving due to his opposition to Israel’s occupation.

Levin, from the city of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, immigrated to Israel with a few members of his family from Ukraine when he was 3 years old. Around 18 months ago he enlisted in the army, believing his service would contribute to society and fulfill his duties as a citizen.

Mesarvot, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to enlist in the IDF in protest of the occupation, accompanied Levin as he was taken to Prison 6.

In his refusal statement, Levin wrote:

My refusal is an act of protest against the occupation that has been going on for more than 50 years, and an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

When I visited my family in Ukraine, I encountered disrespect toward Jews, and in Israel, too, my friends and I were treated with contempt for our different ethnicity and culture. This is how my empathy for the oppressed Palestinian people developed. There’s a civil war going on in the Ukraine, and when I visited there a few months ago I met soldiers who have no idea what they’re fighting for, and end up dead. I could relate to them, because I, too, don’t believe in Israel’s military policies, which are predominantly about maintaining the occupation. This experience led me to think about the meaning of my military service.

I refuse to keep participating in the oppression of the Palestinian people. In the [occupied] territories, more and more settlements are being built while Palestinians are subjected to policies of land confiscations and home demolitions. Since 2006, Israel has destroyed more than 2,000 homes in the occupied territories. Palestinians have limited freedom of movement, both inside their homeland and when traveling outside of it, as the Palestinian passport is ranked 189th in the world, and in the Gaza Strip this right is revoked entirely.

I served in the army as a...

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How to turn human rights activists into 'traitors' in a few easy steps

The Israeli right’s years-long effort to portray Breaking the Silence as traitors fell flat on its face this last week. Will the media or the politicians who incited against them apologize?

One day in the future, when high school students learn about the transformation of Israel from a nationalistic fortress state into a fascistic one, an entire chapter will be dedicated to the persecution of left-wing activists and human rights groups. The chapter will describe at length the role of three central bodies in this destructive process: extreme-right organizations, the media, and politicians from across the political spectrum.

One of the lessons, presumably, will be dedicated to Breaking the Silence, an anti-occupation group that publishes testimonies by former IDF combat soldiers about their service in the West Bank and Gaza. The organization, which has been the target of the right for much of the past decade, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing earlier this week after Israel’s attorney general said he wouldn’t launch an investigation against the group for illegally collecting and possession military intelligence.

Those allegations first surfaced three years ago when Channel 2 News broadcasted an “exclusive investigative report,” based entirely on materials gathered by right-wing moles from Ad Kan who infiltrated Breaking the Silence with hidden cameras and fake monikers. The report suggested the organization illegally collected and published classified information on IDF operations, handed over sensitive intelligence to hostile groups, and turned new army recruits into spies.

The report aired not long after Channel 2 broadcasted an investigative report into the alleged criminal activities of Ta’ayush, another anti-occupation group. That footage was also gathered by Ad Kan activists, leading to the persecution of a number of the Ta’ayush’s most prominent members. Right-wing organizations quickly understood that Ad Kan’s strategy works: sling mud at left-wing and human rights groups, and something will surely stick.

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The right’s incitement began immediately following the report on Breaking the Silence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that a “red line has been crossed.” Then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the IDF would investigate the organization, going so far as to calling them “traitors.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked accused Breaking the Silence of espionage.

The incitement extended far beyond the Israeli right. Politicians from the center-left also took advantage of the story for political capital: Yair Lapid declared that “Breaking the Silence is undermining the State of...

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Israel's Nation-State Law also discriminates against Mizrahi Jews

Mizrahi academics and activists demand Israel’s High Court strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it erases their cultural legacy and perpetuates injustices against both them and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Over 50 prominent Israeli Jews of Mizrahi origin filed a petition to the High Court of Justice on Tuesday demanding it strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it discriminates against both Palestinian citizens and Jewish Mizrahi citizens of Israel.

According to the petition, the law, which demotes Arabic from an official language to one with “special status,” is “anti-Jewish” for excluding the history and culture of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries, “while strengthening the impression that Jewish-Arab culture is inferior…and anchoring the identity of the State of Israel as anti-Arab.”

The petition, which was written and submitted by Attorney Netta Amar-Shiff, also refers to a clause in the law that establishes Jewish settlement “as a national value.” According to the petitioners, every time Israel takes it upon itself to demographically “re-engineer” the land, it harms Mizrahim by pushing them into the country’s underserved geographical periphery. This process hinders their access to highly-valued land through admissions committees, which allow communities across the country to reject housing applicants based on their “social suitability.”

Among the signatories are renowned author Sami Michael, Professor Yehuda Shenhav, Professor Henriette Dahan-Kalev, Israeli Black Panther and social justice activist Reuven Abergil, among others. (Full disclosure: the writer is one of the signatories of the petition). According to the petitioners, Mizrahim were largely excluded from the law’s formulation, despite the fact that it would affect their community’s right to preserve its heritage, and that its blatant anti-Arab bias would adversely affect Jews from Arab countries.

Following Israel’s establishment, authorities did everything they could to suppress Arab identity and culture among immigrants from Arab and Muslim countries through a forced “melting pot” doctrine, leaving them both materially and culturally disenfranchised. More than six decades ago, Israeli diplomat and Arabic scholar Abba Eban said: “The goal must be to instill in them a Western spirit, and not let them drag us into an unnatural Orient. One of the biggest fears… is the danger that the large number of immigrants of Mizrahi origin will force Israel to compare how cultured we are to our neighbors.”

For 70 years, this worldview formed the basis for how Israel viewed Mizrahim. The political establishment demanded Mizrahi Jews renounce their Arab identity,...

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How did revenge become a military objective?

When Israeli military commanders call bereaved families from the field to confirm they’ve gunned down their child’s accused killer, security considerations are not at play — that’s just an army exacting revenge.

There is something almost spellbinding about the speed with which the Israeli government is tearing off the masks that once afforded its policies a veneer of decency. From the Jewish Nation-State Law to the cultural loyalty law to the law to legalize settlement outposts, from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s anti-Semitic friends to the blatant racism of his son who publicly yearns for a country cleansed of Palestinians — official Israel is not even pretending anymore. Everything is out in the open now.

This trend is also being reflected in the operations and policies of the Israeli army. Without any way of providing Israeli citizens with security and quiet in a reality of endless military occupation, it seems that the army’s main way of dealing with the Palestinians is sowing fear and collective punishment. This is done through demolishing homes belonging to family members of those who carry out violent attacks, a move that has been repeatedly deemed as ineffective by high-ranking officials in the army itself; through frequent raids of Palestinian cities supposedly under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, carrying out mass arrests that severely harm the PA’s image as an autonomous government; and by opening fire on unarmed protesters in Gaza.

Now the army has added another operational objective: exacting revenge on behalf of bereaved Israeli families. When Israeli security forces killed Ashraf Na’alowa, the Palestinian accused of murdering Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi at the Barkan Industrial Zone earlier this year, one of the first people to be notified was Rafi Levengrond, Kim’s father, who was briefed by the IDF Central command within five minutes of Na’alowa’s death. “It was important for me to inform you […] before it was published in the media,” Levengrond was told.

The family of Sgt. Ronen Lubarski, who was killed earlier this year during a raid on Al-Amari refugee camp, were also briefed as the family home of Islam Abu Hamid, the accused killer, was demolished over the weekend. “This morning, the commander called me from the field while the house was being destroyed,” Ronen’s father, Vladimir Lubarski, told Ynet. “It was important for him to speak to me first.”

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Israeli parents protest arrests of Palestinian children in central Tel Aviv

A group of Israeli parents mark International Day for the Rights of the Child by raising awareness of the conditions of Palestinian minors in Israeli custody.

For the majority of Israelis, stories of mass arrests of Palestinians in the occupied territories are nothing new. And yet, the Israeli mainstream rarely hears about Palestinian children who are routinely rounded up from their beds in the middle of the night and taken into detention. That’s why on Tuesday, which marked International Day for the Rights of the Child, a group of Israeli activists read testimonies by Palestinian minors arrested by Israeli security forces in the heart of Tel Aviv.

The event was organized by a group named “Parents Against Child Arrests,” who seek to raise public awareness over the issue of child arrests. Nirith Ben-Horin, a social worker and mother of two, says she decided to act after realizing that these kinds of arrests are a routine matter in the occupied territories.

“I am a social worker, I work with families who make such a great effort to stay together,” says Ben-Horin. “The thought of tearing apart a child from his home, from his parents, from the safety of the world he knows, and doing so without the understanding that this is a child we are talking about — it’s very difficult.”

“I felt that I could not stand aside and do nothing,” Ben-Horin said. “We began holding meetings once every two weeks to brainstorm and see what we could do. In June we opened up a Facebook page that we update with testimonies provided by Hamoked — Center for the Defense of the Individual. We also work with Military Court Watch, which takes testimonies from minors after they are released and publish them in English and Arabic.”

According to statistics provided to B’Tselem by the Israel Prison Service, at the end of August 2018, 239 Palestinian minors were being held as “security prisoners” in Israeli jails, including three in administrative detention. Under administrative detention, detainees are held indefinitely without charge or trial — and with out any way to defend themselves — on the basis of secret evidence. Such orders can be renewed indefinitely for up to six months at a time.

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“Our primary goal is to raise awareness over this issue in Israel and internationally, and to create pressure on the legal, military, and...

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The Israeli activists helping protect the Palestinian olive harvest

For the past decade and a half, dozens of left-wing Israeli activists have come together to accompany Palestinians to their groves during the olive harvest. Despite recurring settler violence, the situation has improved over the years.

It had become like the opening ceremony of the olive harvest season: last Wednesday, Israeli settlers uprooted 40 olive trees in Turmusaya, a small Palestinian village north of Ramallah. Palestinian farmers face settler violence throughout the year, but it is during the olive harvest that the attacks increase dramatically.

For the past 16 years, a group of left-wing organizations have banded together to try and stop the attacks. The Harvest Coalition, made up of groups such as Ta’ayush, Rabbis for Human Rights, Coalition of Women for Peace, and Combatants for Peace, among others, has enlisted Israeli volunteers to join Palestinian farmers in areas that are more prone to violence. The very presence of Israeli activists can provide the farmers with the bare minimum of protection in the occupied territories.

The coalition was formed in 2002 by 82-year-old Yaakov Manor, a veteran Israeli human rights activist.

“I first heard about the problem of settlers attacking Palestinian farmers in the 90s,” says Manor. “I was in charge of Peace Now’s dialogue committee, and traveled to many villages. One time I received a phone call from friends in Nablus who said, ‘We have a big problem in Burin, they won’t let them harvest.’ So we decided to join them. I did not understand the severity of the issue at the time; none of us did, since in those years Palestinians did not speak much about these kinds of attacks. The joint harvest did not end up taking place, since the Islamic Movement was strong in the Nablus area, and they didn’t want Jews going into the villages.

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“The real beginning of the joint harvests was during the Second Intifada, when I was already active with Ta’ayush. We received an urgent phone call from the village of Yasuf, next to Kfar Tapuach, which used be heavily Kahanist. I went there with Rabbi Arik Ascherman from Rabbis for Human Rights, we saw the settlers who invaded the village land, they attacked the Palestinians and tried to kick us out. The army always had an easier time dispersing the Palestinians and Israeli activists, so that’s what they did. Afterward we heard stories that...

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Judge: Israeli police 'scandalous' for trying to deport U.S.-French activist

Instead of bringing to court Frank Romano, who was arrested trying to block an Israeli army bulldozer in Khan al-Ahmar, Israeli police tried to deport him without notifying his lawyer or the court. Judge orders him released.

After taking the nearly unprecedented step of arresting a foreign national under Israeli military law, Israeli police openly defied the country’s civilian court system by simply deciding not to bring French-American professor and activist Frank Romano to his own detention hearing, instead spiriting him off to a deportation hearing without ever informing his lawyer — or the court.

After ordering police to bring Romano back to her courtroom from an airport deportation facility where he was about to be put on a plane to the United States, Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Chavi Toker rebuked Israeli police for what she called their “scandalous” behavior and ordered Roman released pending appeal.

Romano was arrested by Israeli authorities on Friday after putting his body in front of an Israeli military bulldozer preparing for the demolition and forced displacement of Khan al-Ahmar, a Palestinian village Israel plans to destroy in its entirety in the coming days. In a highly unusual step, Roman was arrested under Israeli military law instead of Israeli civilian law.

Israeli civilians are subject to Israeli civilian law while in the West Bank but Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law, which have different rules, standards, and often punishments. Foreign nationals are rarely put into the military system.

Under Israeli civilian law police must bring a suspect before a judge within 24 hours of arresting them, while under military law authorities can wait 96 hours before bringing an arrestee to court for a detention hearing. Romano’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, had requested that his detention hearing be held in a civilian court, which was granted and scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday — over two days after his arrest.

Instead of bringing Romano to court at 4 p.m., however, at 2 p.m. Israeli police transferred him to the custody of immigration officials, who held a deportation hearing without informing Lasky or the court and were preparing to put him on a plane to the United States. (Romano lives in France.)

According to Lasky, the decision to book her client under military law instead of into the civilian justice system was made in order to give them time to deport him before he saw a judge, which, she...

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IDF detains South Hebron Hills tour organizers, days after settler attack there

Israeli soldiers detained senior members of Breaking the Silence and a human rights attorney in an attempt to block a tour of the South Hebron Hills, where settlers attacked six left-wing activists last week.

By Orly Noy

Breaking the Silence planned a tour in the South Hebron Hills on Friday, as a token of solidarity with the six Ta’ayush activists who were attacked there last week by settlers from the nearby illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair. But before they could arrive to the tour location, several buses carrying hundreds of participants were stopped and delayed by military forces for over an hour.

The soldiers handed the tour organizers a military order which allows them to restrict who may enter certain areas in the West Bank. As expected, the order applied exclusively to the participants of the tour – settlers can move as they wish in that space. Among the participants were Member of Knesset Mossi Raz, a politician with the left-leaning Meretz party, and former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair.

About an hour into the delay, the IDF removed the roadblock, and the tour went on as planned. Until the buses arrived at the entrance of the Mitzpe Yair outpost, that is – the same location of last week’s attacks. There, the soldiers confronted the tour participants again, and detained three of them: director of Breaking the Silence Avner Gvaryahu, the organization’s communications director, Achiya Schatz, and human rights attorney Michael Sfard.

One of the tour participants said: “On our way to Mitzpe Yair, a military jeep stopped us and would not let us pass. We got off the bus, and a few minutes later another jeep arrived with military officers who said that this was a closed military zone, and that we must quickly board the bus again and leave. Obviously, it was not quick – we waited while lawyer Michael Sfard and Avner Gvaryahu stepped aside to speak with the military officers. Suddenly, another jeep arrived with border police forces, and their commander decided to detain Avner and Achiya. He selected them one after the other, without an apparent reason why.”

“When we tried to leave the place, the bus could not make a turn because of the narrow access road. Security forces then decided to strip the Palestinian bus drivers of their licenses, and give them tickets for entering a road they could not get out of – except...

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'Spilling enemy blood is allowed': After settler attack, Israeli activists speak out

Four left-wing Israeli activists were taken to a hospital after being violently attacked by settlers in the West Bank on Saturday. Violence by settlers against activists has grown more common over the past few months, yet it seems the authorities are doing very little to stop it.

When I heard the initial reports that settlers from the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair, in the south Hebron Hills, violently attacked a group of left-wing Israeli activists, I remembered the briefing I underwent in that exact same spot two years ago. “Be very careful,” one of the activists told me. “The settlers can come out of nowhere, and they are not afraid to use violence. They are always ready.” On Saturday, that same activist was one of six who were attacked and hospitalized.

Pepe Goldman, 66, was also among the six who were attacked. “Now I am okay,” he told me a few hours after the incident. “It hurts a bit, but it is okay. I was hit in my ribcage, but luckily nothing was broken.” As for the other activists, Goldman said, one needed stitches for a deep wound on his arm, another may have a fractured pelvis, another had his foot dislocated, and an activist who was thrown to the ground needed medical treatment in Jerusalem.

Goldman has been active with Ta’ayush, a left-wing Israeli organization, which has been documenting settlement expansion and protecting Palestinian shepherds from settler violence, for two years. “We left as we do every Saturday morning at 6 a.m. to accompany shepherds. Sometimes when we notice illegal settlement construction on our drive we stop to take photos and pass on the documentation to the Civil Administration. Most of the time nothing happens, maybe some cursing or shoving. Usually when we arrive, the army declares the area a closed military zone — closed off to us, that is. Not to the settlers.”

“Today, after we were done accompanying the shepherds, as we were heading back to Jerusalem, we heard that the army had entered a Palestinian home in the area and confiscated phones, work tools, etc. without a warrant. We came, wrote down the information, and headed to Mitzpe Yair, where we wanted to photograph new, illegal construction. When we reached the site, the IDF asked us to leave, but did not prevent us from taking photos.”

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But then came...

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How one law exposes what Israel has always tried to hide

From the moment it was established, Israel granted its Jewish citizens privileges at the expense of Palestinians. The ‘nation-state bill’ reveals the choice Israelis have to make about the future of their country.

Years ago, American journalist Ted Koppel hosted a fascinating televised debate between Rabbi Meir Kahane, the far-right anti-Arab leader, and Ehud Olmert, then a fresh-faced Knesset member from the Likud party. As the Israeli parliament is set to approve the Nation-State Law, which would enshrine discrimination against non-Jews in Israel, it is worth going back and paying close attention to the debate.

Kahane laid out his political vision without qualms. “Israelis, and especially those in power, are afraid that I will ask them the following question,” he says calmly. “Do the Arabs in Israel have the democratic right to sit quietly, democratically, and give birth to enough children to become the majority? They are afraid that I’ll ask the question. In Israel, currently, without Kahane in power, there is a law that allows Jews to receive citizenship from the mere fact that they ask for it, and that does not allow non-Jews to lease state land. Kahane did not legislate these laws. These are laws that were originally passed by the Labor Party.”

Olmert, an exceptional rhetorician, found himself stumbling to respond, retorting instead to an embarrassing discussion of chance and probability. And for good reason. Free of the shackles of political correctness and democratic veneers, Kahane was able to reveal the true face of Zionism in Israel: an inherent, perpetual demographic war against its Palestinian citizens. If Israel seeks to be Jewish and democratic, it needs to actively ensure a Jewish majority.

It is surprising therefore that it was the clause in the Nation-State Law that allows for the establishment of Jewish-only communities that has brought about so much opposition. After all, the Zionist project in Israel, since its inception, was one of re-engineering the land. This forms the basis for the state’s attitude and treatment of Palestinians — whether it is ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, forbidding family reunification, the Law of Return, or the fact that since Israel’s founding, not a new single Arab town has been established, save for some Bedouin townships in the south, built to stop the Bedouin population from expanding.

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The Jewish public in Israel...

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